Thursday, July 4, 2013

Saint Nicholas becomes Santa Claus! Christmas in July

Old World St. NicholasEvery November, I become fascinated with all the rituals and history of the Christmas Season, such as Santa Claus.  As a child, I accepted that Santa was a big man with white hair and beard.  He lived at the North Pole (whatever that was) and didn't seem to exist for the rest of the year.
Here, in the middle of July, the fourth day of an on-again off-again thunderstorm, I found a wonderful old world St. Nicholas doll wearing clothing more like that of an Old World Greek Bishop than the jolly rolly-polly pink cheeked man in a red velvet suit with a thick black belt.  Often people say that one evolved from the other.  I finally decided to track it down and see where it happened.  Not too complicated, but surprising to me.  Here's a brief note of what I found out.
Saint Nicholas was an historic 4th-century Saint and Greek Bishop ofThomas Nast - Santa Claus Myra, part of modern-day Turkey.  He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for today's Santa Claus.  His feast day is the 6th of December.
The dramatic clothing change came in 1892 as a result of magazine illustrations created by the great artist, Thomas Nast as illustrations for Harper's Weekly Magazine.   Nast's original drawings were of a small Santa who could slide down chimneys, but his later works made him full size. He was also the first to draw Santa wearing a red suit with fur lining, a stocking cap, and a black belt with a large buckle. This has become the image of the American Santa, Christmas in July 2013 - OBSwhile in some European countries where Saint Nicholas remains popular, the outfit worn is closer to religious clothing, including a Bishop's mitre.
This brings us back my vintage St. Nicolas doll in religious clothing.  If you'd like to see more about it, visit my store on eBay, PhoenixRising2000.


kdmoretti said...

Great Post Elaine and interesting info about the beginnings of SANTA . I also love Christmas and enjoy the Christmas in July promotion in my store also

BookCornerCafe said...

I love this post and learned something new. I love Christmas too it is my favorite time of year. You can find my Vintage Christmas items at the Book Corner Cafe

pat said...

We're never too old to learn something new--I learned something new from your blog Elaine!! Good job!